Review Summary: "Your wick won't burn away"
On Pianos Become the Teeth’s third LP Keep You
, the band decides to forego the screaming that long time fans have come to love from the band. And with this exclusion, the sheer amount of up front emotional intensity conveyed on past releases is nowhere to be seen. Although they’re still capable of capturing sincere moments of anger and regret, with melodic guitar lines (albeit uninspired) that are distorted for maximum effect. Keep You
is still a worthy successor to The Lack Long After,
the record's solemn atmosphere and understated ferocity along with some masterful lyrics keeps the band’s spark alive.
David Haik’s hard hitting drums punctuates Kyle Durfey’s verses nicely. The different fills and tempos Haik utilizes stand out especially, when all that’s present is a subdued and melodic guitar line. His hits are very punchy throughout, keeping an overall exciting tempo. Now while the melodies played are at times moving, many of them feel recycled or just too similar to other tracks on the album. The melodies help in part to ramp up the album’s emotional clarity, but they're not very inspired, and at times they feel a bit forced. There are some choice guitar licks to be found, and the bridge during “Old Jaw” is particularly brilliant, but a few original moments doesn’t make up for being generally lackluster and uninspired the rest of the time melodically. Most tracks follow a basic formula of starting off soft and dreary, and then Pianos start to increase in volume and intensity. While the song structure is very simple, these basic songs shape the record's overall mood pretty well.
The album would work better if Durfey could muster a single paltry spine-tingling scream, but the amount of intensity they were able to create without that essential part of the band is pretty impressive. Lyrically Pianos are as poignant and heart wrenching as ever. While Durfey’s jaded look at life and love in general is written beautifully. Images conjured by Durfey portray the emotions conveyed by the album’s gloomy instrumentation resoundingly well. Lyrics like “Like a room left open, Just for being kept like some lonely facet” from the track “Repine” are heartbreaking, and because of these emotionally relatable lyrics, past fans will have a reason to look past the lack of screams. Durfey's screaming delivery on past albums give off emotional intensity with ease, but it’s still easier to interpret Durfey’s messages when he’s singing clearly. Heck, Durfey’s lively singing on Keep You
almost makes up for the exclusion of screams.
depressive lyrics and dreary overall tone could substitute a cathartic group therapy session. Durfey’s top notch lyrics are as electric as ever, and is by far the best part of Pianos third LP. The guitar melodies are a bit generic and overused, but Haik’s sensational drumming keeps the album afloat musically. While the musical intensity of their first two records is sorely missed, Pianos are still able to pull off this new softer direction. If you go into the record with no previous conceptions of what a Pianos Become the Teeth album is suppose to sound like, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.